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How To Recycle Your Wardrobe Responsibly

How To Recycle Everything In Your Wardrobe Responsibly


Equal parts daunting and rewarding, there’s a special kind of feeling that comes with cleansing your wardrobe, with the lightness, clarity (and anticipation of what could make its home in the newfound space) causing us to question why we don’t do this more often. And while the rise of the capsule wardrobe has done our closets wonders in editing out excess, it’s still important to take stock from time to time.

There’s a right way to part with pieces from your wardrobe that don’t involve the trash. Currently, the world produces 92 million tons of textile waste every year, with clothing and textiles making up at least 7% of waste in global landfill space. Landfills are a major source of pollution, harbouring toxins and polluting groundwater while producing greenhouse gasses, impacting biodiversity and human health. With textiles taking up to 200+ years to decompose, it’s no wonder their effects are known to last a lifetime.

So, where does that leave the pieces you’re ready to part with? Below we’ve put together a guide on how to maximise and recycle everything from your wardrobe responsibly.

3 Steps | Consumption & Care, Donate & Re-sell, Recycle

Start with your consumption, then care.

Fashion’s waste problem is a direct result of overconsumption - the more we buy, the more we send to landfill, oftentimes after only a few wears. Curbing overconsumption starts with buying less and choosing better. By considering every one of our fashion purchases, there’s a greater sense of connection, and therefore a wardrobe that not only reflects who you are, but one you’ll actually wear. Think quality and versatile pieces that can easily transition from season to season.

The next step is all about care. If you’re investing in pieces to have forever, treating them with love will make them last even longer. For footwear, we recommend getting to know your local cobbler. Things like waterproof leather protectors, rubber soles, resoling and other small repairs make all the difference. For more information on how best to care for your shoes, have a look at our comprehensive Care Guide here.

When it comes to clothing, the same sentiment applies. And while every garment is different (and the care tag should always be followed) considerations like hand-washing and flat drying in the shade are acts of care that go a long way. Like our cobbler friends, we’re also infinitely better for knowing our local tailor. There’s a certain kind of confidence and longevity that comes with clothes that fit you perfectly; whether it’s hemming a pair of trousers or altering a jacket, having your pieces adjusted is a worthwhile investment to get the most out of your wardrobe.

When you’re done, donate or resell.

Donating or reselling your unwanted items not only keeps them from ending up in landfill but also gives pieces a chance to have a second life, reducing the demand for new clothes in the process. The rule of donation is to ask yourself, ‘Would I give this to a friend?’ If the answer is yes, look to one of the below organisations. It’s also worth noting the rise of fashion resale with stores like Vestaire Collective and The Real Real making it easier than ever to list the pieces you’re ready to part with.

Here are our go-to local organisations:

Australia
Dress for Dignity (online resell platform)
Swop (online and physical second-hand store)
Depop (online resell platform)

Europe
Sellpy (online resell platform)
Vinted (online resell platform)

UK
Smart Works (donate clothes)
Curate and Rotate (online second-hand store)
Collect my Clothes (donate clothes, shoes, accessories)

America
Soles4souls (donate shoes)
One Warm Coat (donate coats)
Madewell (donate jeans)

Worldwide
Dress For Success (donate clothes)
AirRobe (resell platform)
Red Cross Shops (donate clothes)

If you can’t donate, then look to one of these helpful organisations.

If it doesn’t pass the ‘Would you give it to a friend’ test, the trash can is still not the answer. From transforming unwanted textiles into new materials to working with dedicated recycling partners, fortunately, there are many wonderful organisations that exist to recycle clothing and textiles past their usable life. Here are our favourites:

Australia
Upparel (recycle clothes and textiles)
Rcycl (recycle clothes)
Planet Ark (recycler finder)

Europe
Recycle now (recycle clothes and textiles)
Nike Recycle (recycle athletic sneakers)

America
Planet Aid (recycle clothes, textiles, shoes)
Retold Recycling (recycle clothes and textiles)
Knickey (recycle underwear, socks, tights)
Fair Harbor (recycle swimwear)
Scrap (recycle clothes)
Blue Jeans go green (recycle denim)

Worldwide
Oxfam international (recycle clothes)
For Days (recycle clothes, textiles, shoes, accessories)
Salvation army (recycle clothes)
TerraCycle (recycle clothes, textiles, shoes, underwear)

We’re on a mission to be the most responsible brand we can be. From the pace at which we create to the materials we use and the quantities we produce, we’re committed to creating better systems and sharing with our customers what we learn along the way. If you know of any re-sell, donation or recycling organisations that you think we should add to the list please let us know and we will be sure to update.

 Landfills are a major source of pollution


Sources:
Ruiz, Arabella. “17 Most Worrying Textile Waste Statistics & Facts”. TheRoundUp.Org, 2023, https://theroundup.org/textile-waste-statistics/

Rinkesh, “Are Landfills Bad For The Environment (And Alternatives To Landfills)”. Conserve Energy Future, https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/are-landfills-bad-for-environment.php

Brown, Rachel. “The Environmental Crisis Caused By textile Waste”. RoadRunner Recycling, 2021, https://www.roadrunnerwm.com/blog/textile-waste-environmental-crisis

Abdulla, Hannah. “Taking textile waste - the gift that keeps giving”. Just Style, 2023, https://www.just-style.com/news/week-in-review-tackling-textile-waste-the-gift-that-keeps-giving/

“Textiles End Up in Landfills”. Sustainable Fashion, https://sustainfashion.info/textiles-end-up-in-landfills/

“Fashion on climate: How the fashion industry can urgently act to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions”. Mckinsey, 2020, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/fashion-on-climate